Septenary (116 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note


Septenary: a line of seven beats, usually more or less iambic in movement. Often divided by rhyme or on the page into two lines, one of four beats and one of three (followed by a silent beat – see isoictic), it is the common metre of ballads and hymns:

The King | sat in | Dumferm|line Town
Drinking | the blood-|red wine:
“O where | will I find | a skee|ly ski|pper
To sail | this new ship | o’mine?”

Anon, “The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens”

There is | a green | hill far | away,
Without | a ci|t…

Citation: Groves, Peter Lewis. "Septenary". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2007 [, accessed 30 September 2022.]

5528 Septenary 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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